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Dan Speers

Citizen Poet
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America's Burden

 Dan Speers

"Why brought ye us from bondage,
"Our loved Egyptian night?"
                       --The White Man’s Burden
                       RUDYARD KIPLING

Bear America’s burden--
Borne by sons and daughters--
Bound by patriotism
To war’s endless slaughter;
Where weapons of precision
Rend the land asunder--
In rubble, contradictions,
Faces without number.

Bear America’s burden--
Wrought by lies to attack
And quell the threat of terror,
Your vengeance, pride pays back;
Through speeches stark and simple
When mushroom clouds drew nigh,
You said you’d free the people
That tyranny must die.

Bear America’s burden--
Preemptive war of peace--
Let them taste democracy,
Then watch the madness cease.
But victory’s not in sight,
Nor truth that you can hear:
You can never win this fight
With gods and demons here.

Bear America’s burden--
You tolerate no views
That contravene your grand plan
Where pretence is your news.
But towns spawn iniquity,
With roads that bombs ignite.
You mark them with your living;
Your dead fly home at night.

Bear America’s burden
The truth you never learn:
Those conquered seethe with anger,
Those you protect will turn--
As their cries expose the lies,
Soon they will see the light,
“Why bring ye us new bondage,
Your lost Egyptian night?”

Bear America’s burden--
You cannot admit less--
Wrapped in the flag of freedom,
You choke from weariness.
No matter what tales you tell,
Whether you leave or stay,
These fervent, raucous people,
You and your gods have weighed.

Bear America’s burden--
Was it but days or hours--
Hailed as liberators, and
Falsely promised flowers?
Warnings scorned, wretched manhood
Through all the wasted years.
So fleeting, your vaunted good,
Now condemned by your peers.




America's Burden

Presented on a map of the Middle-East, the center ripped out in the shape of the borders of Iraq. The inset, ruins of a bombed home in Baghdad, a deserted street, the surviving homes and rooftop gardens seeming dissolving, crumbling into the destruction.